There are only three principal public occasions in a person’s life: baptismal, burial and marriage. Among the three, only marriage allows great honor for the principals. Throughout the tradition, marriages had been considered as the special day for a lady who is about to pledge her matrimonial vows towards the chosen one.
Marriage is Her Big Day more than that of the groom. This is why marriages have always been made special and bridal dresses created as such to fit the festive occasion. This practice of making the bride look magnificent in her bridal dress runs down throughout the history, with widespread influence dating back to medieval times.
Bridal dresses were not always white, in opposition for what have been usually perceived by most people. Bridal dresses before the Victorian era would normally adapt the color of what is trendy and what is available. Shades of lively colors were normally used and pastel colors were also popular. But by mid-1800s, white bridal dresses became the norm when Queen Victoria chose a white bridal dress for her wedding day. The same dress was worn over a black silk dress fifty years later. She also was responsible for setting the fashion of having her bridesmaids carry the train.
In his decade, revolutionary changes were done with fashion. Up well to 1920s, bridal dresses were created in accordance with what’s the norm. The hemlines rose from shoe to above the knee and became more curtailed. But later, many considered the length of the bridal dress inappropriate for church services, thus the replacement of full-length gowns. In this decade too was the dropped waist and shapeless bodice dresses reach its height of popularity.
The depression in thirties followed the roaring of the twenties. Women changed from the boyish look to the more profound expression of a woman’s body. Normally, the bridal dresses in this era hugged the body of the bride. To emphasize the shape of the body, bridal dresses were given boat-shaped collars.
Fashion in the 1940s almost died down, and the same was true for the white bridal dresses. Clothes rations started in 1941 and continued up to the end of the World War I. A number of brides struggled for silk dresses but most suited themselves for the uniform. Those who were not commissioned in the army wore the same costumes.
The padded shoulders of the last decade were superseded by the narrow shoulders in the 1950s. However, many brides wanted their dresses adopt the intermediate style. The bridal trains were fashioned after the trains of the Elizabethan era. But another fashion arrived- The New Look outfit. Simply put, the New Look outfit is tailored after the ballerina dresses in terms of length. The dress typically has a jacket bodice with tight sleeves.
There were not so much changes in the bridal fashion in the 1960s. Ladies still preferred wearing the circular dresses, short veils and tight sleeves only differing on the veils with more bouffant approach. Most women wore coronets and a single rose with the veil gathered together from the flower. In contrast with the extravagant and flowing bridal dresses, bouquets in the 1960s were made simpler. More often than not, tiny flowers in tight posies are used.
After two decades of tights sleeves, Tudor sleeves were introduced in the seventies. The high-waisted line of the 1960s gradually moved lower to a princess line. Trains diminished too and the cuts of the dresses were made far simpler.
By this era, the waistlines had returned to their normal position. The dresses were much fuller now and the big bouquets returned back to fashion. This period was marked with more extravagant sleeves, suited after the bridal dress of the Princess of Wales.
Wide skirts remained popular with the start of the 1990s. However, different fashion icons popularized varieties of skirts. But among the most popular are the super low waists with skirts flared down.
With the coming of the new century, the norms with wedding have changed too. Themed costumes were much more practiced today and so are the themed bridal dresses.
There is no doubt that bridal dresses remain to be the eternal testimony of a wedding. And the efforts of making the dresses extravagant and special are both to the benefit of the bride’s contentment and the ever-changing fashion trends.